|Wallowing in American mud and soon to wallow in ours, the Toyota 4WD that many may want, but nobody actually needs.|
Toyota's holding a long-lead press launch for the FJ Cruiser in Australia in a few weeks and, no, 4wdNewz isn't on the guest list. But the event's timing got me thinking that this tough and capable lifestyle vehicle that has been a success in the US might be here before Christmas. Sadly not. The way I see it, after talking to New Zealand's top selling brand's HQ in Palmerston North, is that they could have had it ready to be under the Christmas tree but chose not to. The holiday season is an appalling time to launch a new vehicle because the marketplace has its collective mind on other things.
So expect it here in the "first quarter", expect it in one specification level only and expect it not to be cheap. I asked whether it'd be in the "$70,000s", thinking that was fairly generous. Meaningful pause on the phone: "Well, maybe not that low." Volume has something to do with pricing and the FJ isn't likely to sell in Toyota's usual mega-numbers. Unlike any other 4WD in the company's range, it's a vehicle that nobody needs – but which reasonable numbers will certainly want.
Update: Toyota execs said at the Highlander launch Oct 4 that the FJ Cruiser will probably be here in February or March, with a significantly revised Hilux in the "second half".